ISSOTL Spotlight: Course Design in an Integrated First-Year Honors Sequence

Poster Session DSCN0581

Students at Georgia Southern University can take a first-year, year-long Honors course that introduces them to university research. The poster was presented by Jerri J. Kropp and Trent W. Maurer (pictured above) who described the course in detail to attendees. The first semester focuses on animal-assisted therapies and students identify a related topic that they will research and eventually present on. The second semester is more broad, focusing on global and diversity issues, and students are placed into groups to combine their topics into one common theme. Also, during the semesters, students must complete 25 hours of service.

The purpose of the course is for students to become more familiar with research and the analysis and integration that comes with it. According to their poster presentation, “Participants will learn about the benefits of: a) collaboration with another faculty member, b) working with the same cohort of students over two semesters, and c) the student outcomes when first-year are involved in scaffolded steps in understanding research.”

The faculty collaboration is successful because 15 students take the course, lending itself to more individual learning. The faculty are better able to guide students through various research methods, such as searching for quality, peer-reviewed articles, implementing APA style, apply CRAAP tests to the articles, presenting to the class, and creating a poster to eventually present at a poster session. Kropp and Maurer also indicate other benefits of faculty collaboration. In their experience, these include the faculty’s knowledge and expertise as well as their teaching approaches and methods. They are also able to share the workload and provide diversity in the gender and generational differences. The students receive a lot of experience with integrated research from this course and are given a lot of opportunities, such as presentating at an Honors Research Symposium.

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